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Top 10 Motorcycle Model Names of All Time | Best & Worst

Top 10 Motorcycle Model Names

Top 10 Motorcycle Model Names of All Time | Best & Worst
BSA’s “Thunderbolt” tops our list of the best motorcycle model names. It sounds cool and has been used for fighter planes, too, so it has to be good.

Product names are generally selected to inspire buyer interest, confidence, admiration, affinity and to evoke a feeling or emotional response as well as to convey the character or mission of the product.

In motorcycle model names, that would involve choosing a name or designation that conveys strength, speed, agility, toughness, power, reliability, history, heritage, or something along those lines; or at least that would seem to be the general gist of naming a motorcycle model. Or, the model name should at least sound cool.

Read more Ultimate MotorCycling Motorcycle Commentary

Best and Worst Motorcycle Names of all Time - Norton Commando
The Commando name evokes a sense of toughness—the vintage Norton of that name does the same.

In that vein, and in the spirit of our past top 10s on things that really don’t matter all that much but are fun to think about, we present what we consider our choices for the Top 10 Best—and Worst—Motorcycle Model Names of All Time.

We also present some that we couldn’t make up our minds on, so we created the “could go either way” category. We’ll leave it to our readers to decide.

Please note that selection to the best or worst name list is no reflection on the quality of that model—this list goes only to the name of the model. We don’t want to imply there’s anything inherently wrong with any of the “worst” names, either.   They may have made the list just because we think they are weird, odd, strange, ironic, contrary, counter-intuitive for the purpose (like obscure or unflattering double meanings, for example) or funny in some way.

As in the past, our criteria are arbitrary and capricious. Our criteria for selection to each list are just that—our criteria. Fairness, logic and some systematic approach have no bearing on our choices and you as the reader are free to agree or disagree as you will. Indeed, we are interested in your thoughts on the subject of contenders for each list. We won’t do anything about it, but we are interested, nonetheless.

Here goes.

Top 10 Best Motorcycle Model Names of All Time:

  1. Thunderbolt (BSA)
  2. Venom (Velocette)
  3. Spitfire (BSA)
  4. Interceptor (Honda, Royal Enfield, et.al.)
  5. Thunderbird (Triumph)
  6. Black Lightning (Vincent-HRD)
  7. Lightning (BSA, Buell, et.al.)
  8. X-75 Hurricane (Triumph)
  9. Mach I (II, III, IV) Kawasaki, Ducati (Mach 1S)
  10. Commando (Norton)

Honorable mention:

  • Ninja (Kawasaki)
  • Silver Hawk (Matchless)
  • Victor 441 (BSA)
  • Super Glide (Harley-Davidson)
  • Bonneville (Triumph)
  • Bullet (Royal Enfield)
  • Rocket III (BSA and Triumph)
  • Katana (Suzuki)
  • Super Hawk (Honda)
  • Road King (Harley-Davidson)
  • Avenger (Kawasaki)
  • Trident (Triumph)
  • Intruder (Suzuki)
  • Trail 90 (Honda)
  • Bandit (Suzuki)
  • Tiger (Triumph)
  • Magna (Honda)
  • Sportster (Harley-Davidson)
  • Black Bird (Honda)
  • Daytona (Triumph)
  • Dominator (Norton)
  • Formula 3 (Ducati)
  • V-Max (Yamaha)

Top 10 Worst Motorcycle Model Names of All Time:

  1. Pixie (Ariel)
  2. Regina Columbus (Horex)
  3. Flying Merkel (Merkel)
  4. Squirrel (Scott)
  5. Mancunian (DOT)
  6. Stroud (Panther)
  7. Elefant (Cagiva)
  8. Meteor Minor (Royal Enfield)
  9. Scat (Harley-Davidson)
  10. Dragonfly (Douglas)

Could go either way:

  • FireBlade (Honda)
  • Virago (Yamaha)
  • Beagle (BSA)
  • Red Hunter (Ariel)
  • Fire Storm (Honda)
  • TransAlp (Honda)
  • Topper (Harley-Davidson–scooter)
  • Varadero (Honda)
  • Valkyrie (Honda)
  • Shadow (Honda)
  • Vision (Yamaha)
  • Hayabusa (Suzuki)
  • Torpedo (Ducati)
  • Diana (Ducati)
  • Desmo (Ducati)
  • Hummer (Harley-Davidson)

Top 10 Motorcycle Names of All Time – Best & Worst

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